Fair Use

If you are reusing portions of the copyrighted work of another author or creator, your use MAY be authorized under the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright Law.  The Copyright Act itself gives Fair Use examples including criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, and scholarship.  However, the Act goes on to establish four factors against which any specific use must be assessed based on specific facts.  The only “definitive” determination of whether a use is fair would come from a court.

Section 107 of the Copyright Act describes these four factors as:

  • Purpose and character of the Intended Use
  • Nature of the copyrighted Work
  • Amount and substance of the portion being used
  • Effect on the market or value of the copyrighted work

In making a Fair Use determination, you may wish to use a Fair Use analysis tool or checklist.  You should print and retain the results as documentation of your good faith effort to make a Fair Use determination.  Several examples are available online, including:

For additional information on Fair Use:

Fair Use Resources to Share and Reuse: